In 2002 my wife Kathy was diagnosed with MS. Despite this, she continued to work as an NHS Physio for 13 more years. During this time I rediscovered running, and spurred on by her fortitude, humour and positivity, managed to complete a few Great North Runs to raise funds for the MS Trust charity (two of them with our kids, Josh and Hannah).
In 2015 Kathy discovered the Neuro Therapy Centre. As a Physio with a sporting background she is very aware of the benefits of exercise for both physical and mental wellbeing. The Neuro Therapy Centre is a lifeline, with supervised gym sessions, pilates and, most recently, the chance to use an FES (electrical stimulation) bike. Kathy goes twice a week and as a member of the Access to Exercise Steering Group she provides invaluable insights that help raise the profile of the Centre and expand the work it does to a wider audience. She also has fun, enjoying the company of the team and other members.
Running around Coniston Water is something I can do to help. It's a challenging course with a few ups and downs, but also some glorious views of the Old Man, the first mountain I ever walked up, aged 9, with my Dad and one Kathy and I also conquered before we were married. Around half way I'll run past my Grandma's old home in Water Yeat and then along the East Side of the lake, with happy memories of skimming stones, having picnics and splashing about with Josh, Hannah and our dog Bryn. Hopefully these will keep me going.
Also running is my nephew Ian. He's nearly 20 years younger than me, so the plan is that he will arrive a few minutes earlier and have a pint of Coniston Bluebird and a plate of fish and chips waiting at the Black Bull Inn - no pressure, Ian.
The Neuro Therapy Centre is an essential, remarkable and humbling place. But it is only able to do its invaluable work with the generosity of donations. So please help if you can by chipping in - Kathy and I would hugely appreciate it. Either way, think of me on 23rd March stumbling over cattle grids, trying to avoid falling into the water and discovering that, oddly enough, the Lake District is quite hilly. andy porter